Summary: A relevant series looking at Psalm 23
August 5, 2012
Have you been watching the Olympics? They’re amazing to watch. To see the pure joy of winning, to see someone reach a goal is so cool. Individual and team accomplishments and their celebrations.
Then to watch some athletes, like American, Jordyn Weiber, recover from tears and devastation, as she regained her smile, is moving.
Then there are those athletes that you want to cry for, like the South Korean fencer who lost because the clock stopped working and her opponent was given extra time; and then won.
As we continue our look at Psalm 23, in life we will suffer pain and hurts. We live in a fallen world and imperfect world; and we need to know how to handle the hurts which come into our lives ~ physically, emotionally and spiritually. Sometimes it’s an accident, or it could be intentional damage, maybe it’s a disease we didn’t ask for or want. The bottom line — we all experience pain. Whether it’s our fault or not. Life can bring great joy, and it can bring tremendous pain. So, David wrote ~
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup overflows.
So, how do we handle pain? Most of the time, we handle our pain the wrong way. As I thought about how we handle pain, I came up with at least 5 WRONG ways to handle hurt and a few RIGHT ways.
The 1st wrong way we handle our hurts is to ~
1. IGNORE THE PROBLEM
This is the macho man approach to pain. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the expression and I’ve used it too, “Just suck it up.” Yes, there are times we need to face difficult times, but too many times, we’re guilty of telling kids ~ Pretend your pain doesn’t exist. Hope that it will go away. Be a man, grow up. There are several ways we do this:
Deny the pain – It didn’t really hurt; or I’m not mad.
Delay the pain – I’ll deal with that later. I don’t get mad I get even.
Minimize the pain – It’s no big deal. It didn’t hurt so bad.
Ignoring our hurt never heals it. We like to say, Time heals all wounds – but if we don’t bring healing to the wound, then time will make the wound worse. Denying it, delaying it, minimizing it turns minor problems into major ones. Wounds become infected and spread when they aren’t dealt with. Ignoring our pain doesn’t help, it makes things worse.
2. RUN FROM THE PROBLEM
This is the Chicken approach. Escape. Retreat. Run as fast as you can. For most people, it’s natural, and it’s human nature. We see people like Elijah running from Jezebel, Moses running from Pharoah. Jonah running from God. The prodigal son running from his father. When we feel pain we run. But there are those moments in life when we need to confront it and deal with it.
When people hurt they run. We not only hide, but we find vices, most which are not healthy. Things like sitting and watching television, movies. Alcohol and drugs, shopping, divorce, porn, food or other addictions. Hoping to find relief wherever we can. But when we return the problem is still there. Running doesn’t solve it.
3. HIDE THE PROBLEM
Many of us are good at this. We wear a mask. We don’t tell anyone we hurt. We’re great at camouflaging our pain. When someone asks if we’re OK, we lie and say, ‘everything’s fine.’ We don’t like to admit our hurts. If we admit we’re hurt, it means we’re admitting we’re human and not in as much control as we’d like. It means we’re vulnerable and we don’t like admitting that.
Everybody has hurts. You’re not alone. You’re not even the only one with the hurt you have. Share your hurt in a place which is safe.
4. WORRY OVER THE PROBLEM
Sometimes we hover over our hurt like a mother hen hovers over her chicks. Worry is an attempt to control the uncontrollable. There are things in your life that you can’t change. You’re not God – so why try to be? Often times when we worry, we’re playing the pain over and over again in our life. Paul wrote ~
"Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:2-3 (NKJV)
Notice that Paul tells us why we should set our minds on heavenly things: For we died, and our lives are hidden with Christ in God. If Christ is really in charge – why worry?
Worry never solves problems. It never heals hurts. The more you worry, the bigger the problem seems to get.